Mea culpa, revisited.
I don't take back my mea culpa on bloggers and the MSM, in which to an exaggerated degree I asserted that the former were hitching their wagons to the former.
Gregory Lamb at The Christian Science Monitor appears to be treading into that contentious arena with a report in which he describes the increased "blurring" between the two. Lamb cites a recent study by Jon Kleinberg, computer science professor at Cornell, who says "News and blogs now exist in a continuum, so there's really no such thing as a two-part classification of the world into news and blogs."
His conclusion is echoed by close observers of the news world. Rather than any bright line between journalists and bloggers, they say, the picture gets muddier by the moment.
"The best newspapers are going to end up looking like the best blogs, and the best blogs are going to end up looking a lot like the best newspapers," predicted a 20-something new-media prodigy named Garrett Graff five years ago. Now "that's virtually happened," says Graff, now editor of the long-established Washingtonian magazine.
Today, big blog sites such as The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, or Talking Points Memo - sites originally designed to be different from newspapers - "are basically evolving into newspapers," Graff says. They have bureaus, reporters, and editors...
On the other side of the equation, traditional reporters are blogging themselves, as well as posting observations on Twitter.com throughout the day, holding a two-way conversation with readers in which they not only dispense news but pick up information that enhances their reporting.
It's a symbiotic relationship in which "The Drudge Report, for example, wins a huge online following by displaying headlines from traditional news sites. But Drudge, in turn, drives traffic to the original publications, creating a 'win' for both parties."
As traditional and new media may be morphing into one another, one aspect of news may be lost in the transition, Graff suggests: the bread-and-butter newspaper story. The Washingtonian's website sports the short news snippets that people seek online, while the print magazine luxuriates in leisurely in-depth reads of 6,000 words or more.
"What I think you're going to see die," Graff says, "are the mid-length stories, from 500 words to 2,000 words, that are too long for people who aren't interested in the subject, but too short for people who are."